Theros: A Marvel To Behold

John Friggin’ Rizzo returns to StarCityGames from the dark seclusion of his van down by the river to give you his thorough analysis of Theros in all formats (even Vintage) whether you like it or not. So you might as well like it.

Of all the things in the world, I unconditionally haz two:

1) Cheezburger

2) Devotion to Black

So I figured I was all set.

Then Theros informed I was most assuredly not all set. In fact, I was the complete opposite of all set, which I suppose would be not all set, which is what I just said. Thus, upon the actual arrival of Theros, I got my genuflect on, Tebow-style, like the MacManus Brothers were about to put pennies on my eyes.

If I could describe Theros in one word, this is the one word I would choose:

Those are some good cards.

Perhaps the cards are not specifically good for Legacy, or Standard, or Commander, but there are so many good cards, in general. Well-costed, fun-factor, anti-frustration, good-times Magic. If Theros was released around, say, Ice Age, most of the cards would be absolute jaw-droppers.

Go here and view them, one at a delicious time (but make sure to open an incognito browser!). So much goodness! So many cards you will probably never use in Constructed, but they’re still good, Better Than Ezra style. You start with the gods, then their bling, then fatties, and it just keeps going and going and going like the Energizer Bunny never heard of Mercadian Masques.

By the time I get to the basic lands, I feel like I just had one and so did you, simultaneous, all Chat-Roulette-ish. Now lots of eye contact.

Kinda like how, if I’m really, really, really in the mood, Steely Dan makes me tingly. Not as wet as Skrillex, but hey, robot music isn’t for everyone wtf black midi omfg wtf is that no yes no yes son! Okay.

If I could describe Theros in one more word, this is the one more word I would choose:

Pictured: Theros.

Theros is like Rick Rubin’s beard, if one could purchase Rick Rubin’s Beard Flavored Ben & Jerry’s and eat it for infinity and not gain even one single pound (wish wish!). See, it’s all about the flavor. And I hate flavor. But the 0/4 guy!1!!!!!!!!!eleven!!1!!!!!!ergo:

After contemplating the depths and complex simplicity of Akroan Horse, I conclude that Wizards could have printed 248 basic lands and Akroan Horse and I would still need to sit down.

“You ain’t even sat down yet.”

-Gary Freakin’ Oldman, True Freakin’ Romance

Then you watch the Pro Tour and get all Keanu and Joey Lawrence, spitting out “whoa” like Avatar of Woe was so delve Tombstalker calls him Uncle Delve. The cool plays, cool cards, power, raw and subtle, leads one to a) make sure one is sitting, and b) look up at Morpheus and exclaim “I know kung fu.”

Best Standard Ever? With only Return to Ravnica Block and Theros, we can’t get too touchy-feely, since there are two more sets to go, but Devotion is an obvious home run for two reasons:

1) The entire mechanic is based upon permanents. Permanents rule because they’re creatures and enchantments, and playing creatures is kitchen-table-bag-of-chips-type fun. This is how everyone started, and now how everyone ends. Full circle, kiddies.

2) We have the mana to play RR, BBB, UU, WW, and GG in the same deck sans Reflecting Pool and the Vivid lands, but would take them. This is called “diversity.” STFU SCOTUS!

3) Nykthos likes all of the above, and it’s still cheap. So buy them now.

4) This is the fourth reason out of two reasons.

5) Blue decks are good again (where “again” means “always, still, 4evar”), but beatdown-style, which is better than running your spells into a bunch of “nope gg loser” countermagic, but not by much.

6) It’s not the “Best Standard Ever” because there are like, 5 decks.

7) Most of which are paint-dry, C-SPAN, Liam Neeson Stares For 10 Hours to watch.

8) Except Mono Black, which deserves to be number 9 as well.

9) Mono Black.

I snap-pre-ordered a half-dozen cards when they became official, because “Buy it before you can own it!” has always been my motto. Props if you appreciate I’m kidding about that being my motto, despite getting the seven digits from Lotto’s mother for a dollar tomorrow. Ohhhhhh!

While following the new releases since around the vampire block, buying a few cards here and there on the stealth yo, and shipping Patrick Chapin a Modern Dredge list that killed on turn two until Chapes informed me Dread Return and Grave-Troll are banned (boy was my face red!), and stone-cold brewing for the last year or so, I discovered two things:

1) Legacy is still Teh Balls.

2) Bitterblossom is so good in Legacy (Teh Balls) you wouldn’t believe it, no matter how many times Sam Black tries to enlighten you. Play four and run 4x Enlightened Tutor and thank me in advance.

3) Mono-Black doesn’t beat Batterskull, even when it cheats.

So what can I say about Theros that hasn’t already been said? Nothing, but I can say it funnier and with 90% less actual strategy. So sit back, get some corn and veg out for a spell. I promise this article will add three inches* overnight.

*results not typical

Since I decided to bounce back into Legacy (wise and cost-efficient when you own about ten cards!), this is the yardstick by which all of the cards have been measured since vampire block and will presently be measured. Of course, you can also look forward to a comprehensive breakdown of Theros Limited.

No, in point of fact, you can’t. Know why?

Limited is dumb.

Constructed is the ass of the cat, and Legacy is infinite cat asses, so many cat asses that you can take the following photo you’ve seen a hundred times:

…multiply times infinity and then imagine you were behind all those cats. So many cat asses that 8 done fell over! That is Legacy.

This, on another hand, is Limited:

Limited is as dumb as all cats combined with 50% randomly lobotomized just to make it fair. But here is where I must confess that I watched almost the entirety of the SCG-Worchester Team Sealed, which was, yes, Limited, and it looked like fun. Psyche!!!!!!!!!!!!

Props to the coverage team for knowing the cards by sight. They could put the card on the screen, and by the next turn, I’d already forget what it did. “Uh, we got a reader!” That’s me.

I watched team sealed because I am an addict. Well, kinda, but I can quit anytime I want. (And have, at least twice.) So, with the “further ado,” gettin’-to-know-ya’ part out of the way…

“Theros, for Legacy.”

By Johnny Rizzo.

Grade five.

(I tap one Mountain to add one Red mana to my mana pool and cast…)

Theros doesn’t offer that much in the way of Legacy playables.

(Shock, targeting you.) Your turn.


Thoughtseize. There, I said it. However, I’m not going to buy any out of general principle and because Duress is just as good, if not strictly better.


Ever notice j and k are next to each other in the alphabet?

:waits for everyone to do the Alphabet Song to fact check me:

Alphabet Song Interlude = Thoughtseize = Reid Duke = Funny story.

A while back I was searching one of my old articles for a decklist and came upon this:

“Round 6: Reid DukeAstral Slide

In game 1 Reid got all Life from the Loam with cycling lands and super acceleration. I funny at Magic kept a Tranquil Thicket Overgrown Tomb Coffers hand that had tremendous promise. Kyle Plowed the Coffers and Thicket.”

Reid Duke was at one time so random that I a) played him in a PTQ when we were both 2-3, and b) referred to him as both “Reid” and “Kyle” in the match report and no one even batted an eye.

frigginrizzo: <- - invented [author name="Reid Duke"]Reid Duke[/author] who rumor has it looks like a Kyle.

Some combination of Duress and Inquisition of Kozilek is close enough to 4x Thoughtseize in Legacy, ’cause ‘Seize isn’t the only one-mana discard spell in Legacy. (but it is the best shhh don’t tell JFR)

Spoiler alert: Thoughtseize is Legacy playable as all get out, except for me because fifty twenty dollars for a t-shirt discard spell, that’s some ignorant b*tch sh*t. How can it still be so expensive? Because no combination of Duress and Inquisition is close enough, no matter how much I want it to be true. It’s just that good. Still. Sigh.

EDIT: Just bought 4x Thoughtseize for $75. I’m partially saddened to have succumbed to the madness of crowds, and equally giddy because now my discard suite feels like a real boy!

Hero’s Downfall. You no longer have to splash red for Dreadbore in Standard, but you will because you should, and I almost felt I had to just to combat Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Remember when everyone played Jace in Legacy? Suarez and Roobz remember, too, and we all thank them.

Nevertheless, I bought four mere seconds after spoilerization (and for less than $20 [email protected] so much!), since black cards that kill things are dope. Because I roll seven six ways, this is a Legacy possibility.


I’m saying it’s possible this card sees Legacy play. Not probable or likely, but possible.

Read the Bones. It’s the Black Brainstorm, though no way in hell is it and two life is a lot, yo… Then the more you play it, even in Standard, the less you find yourself gettin’ all amorous when the significant other comes to bed all seduction-like, until eventually you pretend to be asleep so you don’t even have to deal with the tears and intentional lack of Viagra.

Read the Bones is like the anti-Aether Vial: a fantastic top deck on like, turn 8, because sometimes it’s really good, and sometimes you play it on turn three and take death to the face. And that’s in Standard.

A Black card-draw spell that isn’t an auto four-of in every Black deck? This is bullsh*t, Wizards!

Whip of Erebos. Yes, I bought four because I wanted to try *one* in my Legacy deck as a tutor target. After I realized that the only creatures I can return are Deathrite Shaman and Stoneforge Mystic (and Dryad Arbor!), I untried one. For all of you LOUDLY STATING that one must not play Deathrite Shaman in Standard, first, calm down, and second, one perhaps should nevertheless scavengingoozeisokaytoo.

Despite spending an entire turn doing nothing, this card does something eventually, but gives your guys (that you don’t even have in play until Gray Merchant) lifelink in the meantime. Much like Read the Bones, if you spend an extra few minutes (or turns) thinking about, say, baseball, it feels so much better in the end for you and your partner. Then go make eggs.

Sex jokes? Funny, JFR, real funny. What is this, a sitcom?


You know what I’d rather do than watch a High Tide match?

Drink coffee while buried up to my neck in excrement.

Then coffee break’s over, back on your knees!


Brainstorm isn’t the best card in Legacy.

This is me being ahead of the curve again.

I’ll wait for you to catch up.


Gaea’s Cradle.


Change the legend rule.

$150 overnight.

Eat a d*ck.


Four Cradles for $235? Hem and haw, nah, I’ll wait, they’ll almost certainly come down.


Tarmogoyf still isn’t very good.

Been saying it for years.

He was bad even before Deathrite Shaman.

On an unrelated note, I’m now buying Tarmogoyf for $20, $30 for foil.

“These are ‘friend’ prices.”

Eric Stoltz, Pulp Fiction


Drew Levin Legacy articles are intoxicating. I want to sprinkle him onto a mirror, cut him up with the edge of a playing card and inhale him through a rolled up C-note until I lose everything then go to rehab and pretend I’m not thinking about snorting Drew, but all the while I SECRETELY AM ALSO SNORTING CARSTEN KOTTER!

Pictured: Drew Levin, Carsten Kotter, JFR right there in the middle. SANDWICH TIME!


Heliod, God of the Sun. Who would possibly spend so much mana to make one token? Psst, I played two Sorin, Lord of Innistrad in a Legacy event and killed people. Then again, I also played a Kjeldoran Outpost, so what the hell do I know. Legacy not-so-playable, even by me, but in the right deck maybe…?

Q. Which deck is that?

A. A deck that does not exist.

Q. Yet?

A. Ever, probably.

But wait! Giving my guys vigilance might be acceptable, and making dudes, albeit paying quite a tax for the luxury, also seems rad and tubular. If it is, then how about Intangible Virtue and Sorin. There is no question mark because this is not a real debate in any world other than mine.

Seriously, Bitterblossom is just the sickness. You play it and they go “uhhhh, okay.” And watch their fat stupid Knight of the Dumbiquary and Dumbogoyf turn even stupider than they previously were. And they were pretty stupid to begin with.

Legacy = Turn two Abrupt Decay or lose. Kinda.

Tip: Play one Kjeldoran Outpost and one Dryad Arbor in your B/W Token deck. You’ll never see both in your opening hand. Four times in six rounds.




Hundred-Handed One. This is how long I thought about this guy in Legacy:

(a math-like symbol that has yet to be invented goes here)

How does one indicate a period of time that absolutely does exist but is immeasurable? That symbol above that has yet to be invented. Did I, wait, did I just break string theory and Einstein in one sentence?

This fella will block every single one of those Warrens tokens, eight or nine turns after you’re dead and already in game two of your next match. But flavor, so much flavor. Not as much flavor as Rick Rubin’s current beard, but more so his beard in Krush Groove. Still hate flavor, though.

Pictured: Hundred-Handed One

Gift of Immortality. At SCG-Baltimore, my round four FEATURE MATCH (I was 3-1 lol y’all suck!) opponent, Travis Cowley (who finished third memory serves because I helped tech-out his life), threw a Fiend Hunter on my Stoneforge Mystic. I calmly rebuked that noise with Swords to Plowshares, and fetched me ALL OF THE EQUIPMENT. Can you imagine a Mystic search every time it dies?

Go ahead and build that deck.

You either get it or you don’t, but I bet you do!

Gods Willing. I’d prefer to use Shelter instead, which is not fine enough as it is, so cut the mana in half and swap the card draw with scry, and it’s still not good enough. If it said “draw a card,” I still wouldn’t play with it, but you guys might, ’cause y’all love drawing cards. That’s so necro.

I’m going to try to popularize that saying, Gangham-style. Any time someone overindulges, such as eating too much, driving too fast, sleeping too long, or drawing seven from Revelation, I’ll say “that’s so necro.” The next logical step, when “that’s so necro” becomes commonplace, is using the expression when someone *doesn’t* overindulge, such as using one sugar packet in their coffee, or driving 25 in a 30, or drawing a desperation one card from Revelation.

I am my own cult of hipster personality.

Dear All Players In The World,

Can you shuffle the cards in your hands a little more?


Twitchy Bastards Raise My Blood Pressure Just Watching

“Fer Chrissakes, it’s like I’m sittin’ here playing cards with my brother’s kids or somethin’! You nerve-wracking sons-a-bitches!”

-Billy Bob Thornton, Tombstone

Pictured: JFR reacts to the Kibler shuffling clip.

I want to fight you all.

‘Cause so much shuffle and twitchy!

But I would probably lose.

Though I’d go out hard!

Pictured: JFR goes out hard. Also, DAT BASKET!

Dear Brad Nelson and Josh Cho,

It’s “ESPECIALLY.” I promise.


Say “Expecially” again!

“I dare you!”

-Sam, Pulps, yo


Curse of the Swine. That’s a lot of mana to not actually solve a problem that you still have, just make it somewhat less problematic. I guess, well, I mean there might be some situations no. Plus, it’s like, Blue.

Swan Song. Oh, great, just what Delver needed: another cheap counter.

This is the part where you speculate if I would really put Swan Song into a Delver deck.

This is the part where you know I would at least test it if I had the manabase.

Blue is dumber than Limited. Ha ha, kidding! Nothing is dumber than Limited!

See kids, when you suck at something (like I do with Limited and blue), you can simply describe it as dumb. If you do, target player maintains his or her manhood (or womanhood) and still gets crotch-punched in their sleep because blue.

How come BBD is so awesome? Aside from his stellar fashion sense (short sleeves patterns ftw!), who wouldn’t want their own BBD action figure?! OMG someone make this and shut up and take my money or my life or all of it!

Uh oh, looks like rain! Sorry, li’l BBD, we’re about to get all wet behind the ears!

The Desolation of Smaug? Hells yes, me and my BBD action figure will be there for the midnight release!

Honey, I know you said no threesomes, but my BBD action figure is anatomically correct!

Searching “Where can I buy a BBD action figure?” led me to this:

EDIT: Now available BBD limited edition Grand Prix Winner with 100% more stabby things in hand!

Pictured: the next logical step Invitational Winner tokens.

I would so buy the living sh*t out of this for $29.99.


Mistcutter Hydra. I want to be the first to cast Natural Order to get this, though I’d fancy nabbing that 8/0 guy ’cause that’s a man Simon Pegg could really get into saying “I don’t have the power!” even though he does have the power and is curiously bereft of toughness…

Google Search: “toughness”

“I suppose there is a lot of toughness in me.”

I rock at Google.

Side note:

Ever had a conversation result in a bit of a disagreement, such as, say, “how hot is the sun?” then, inadvertently, from the hand of the person who is most wrong comes out the iPhone…

“What do I search?”

smh, son, right into a Picard facepalm.

Warriors’ Lesson. Think of all the times when this draws you two cards. Every single one of those times it won’t, ’cause Swords, and you should probably just cast Brainstorm instead. Yeah, if Brainstorm is so good, how come hardly anyone used it when it was Standard legal, huh??!! Frigginrizzo wins. Flawless Victory.

Commune with the Gods. For those looking for faux-ish Enlightened/Idyllic numbers five, six, seven, and eight or nine, ten, eleven, and twelve OMG THAT’S A LOT OF TUTORS BUT NOT THIS MANY:


And not a single one is banned in Legacy.

I thought Commune could, should, maybe, perhaps, do some work. It does some work indeed, but minimum wage-style work, and calls out sick a lot, oddly enough usually on Fridays and Mondays…

Copyright Scott Adams, whom JFR did not ask. Pls don’t sue k thx bye

Note: when someone cracks a fetch or announces their search target with Stoneforge Mystic and then says “I’m done, go ahead,” don’t go ahead. Always wait for them to shuffle and present, after which you cut or shuffle and then begin your turn. There seems to be some sort of other-worldly journey that occurs when you start to take your turn before the game has resolved to a state of equilibrium.

The next time you’re in that situation, start your turn while they’re shuffling. Notice that often enough, you draw a blank, or simply have no increased action, which immediately leads to you cutting or shuffling their deck after your nothingness and them beginning their turn. It feels like a Time Walk.

Real or imagined, this entropic effect is why I never, ever, start my turn before their actions are complete and the game is in balance. This is also why I never, ever, look at the top card of my deck after I mulligan.

There is something to this. Discuss in the forums, or don’t. But I’m pretty sure I’m right, even if the forums may or may not exist.


Forge[/author]“]Purphoros, God of the [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]. I snap pre-ordered him about 30 seconds after he was officially spoiled. “OZMG,” thought I, “he’s like, really good with Bitterblossom and Lingering Souls. All you have to do is absolutely nothing for an entire turn!!” Oh my, put this and Whip of Erebos in the same deck and just play back-to-back stuff that’ll have an impact any minute now! After I hit “Pay now,” I said to myself, “self, that was $20 American you’ll never see again.”

Here I sit brokenhearted.

Bought Purpohoros now I have to play Standard.

Hammer of Purphoros. Two words: Flagstones of Trokair. Two more: Smallpox. Two more: Bloodghast. Two more: am I friggin’ kidding me? I’ve been trying for what seems like forever to make Braids, Cabal Minion work in Legacy. It doesn’t. But this card might, maybe. I’ll let you know when I run out of gas in my burn deck and start saccing lands to get all funky with my long game because sometimes multiple Fireblasts just aren’t enough.

SPOILER ALERT: Yes they are.

In the meantime, since it’s likely I won’t get back to you with the results, just drop The New Hammer and have some second life. In top deck mode, a 3/3 haste guy every turn provides incredible, well, some, reach for a Red deck. The problem is, at 1RR, you’re fighting Sulfuric Vortex and maybe Blood Moon. Another problem is that OMG that was obvious as hell so is this too many three-drops gives Red a sad. I say throw in two and feel pretty good about yourself, and deservedly so, you handsome son-of-a-b*tch you.

Standard, however…

…this is your opponent’s face when you play Hammer of Purphoros on turn two:

This is his face when you follow up with Kalonian Hydra on turn three:

Magma Jet: Snap ordered these too, since I had none, and was convinced that this may or may not be Legacy playable. It kinda isn’t. Maybe not even Standard playable. But I think it’s playable in both, and now that I have a playset, I’m ready to prove myself both right and wrong.

“In Greek mythology, Erebus /ˈɛrəbəs/, also Erebos, God of the Dead

Taken from the Wiki page “Erebus,” and the italics on Erebos are thanks to AutocardAnywhere, which is so absolute dope, it brings the beatdown into your life from out of nowhere. “Serendipity,” I think they call it, and just a little lol-you-must-think-about-Magic-at-all-times-no-matter-what to get you through your day.


Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver. Isn’t it funny how some cards are iffy in Standard but decidedly less-iffy in Legacy? No, it’s not funny, because Legacy is TEH BALLS, and Standard is, like, the taint (and boy taint at that). I loved Ashiok immediately mostly because of androgyny, but hated the idea that for $80 I could get a set of Ashiok or a couple fetchlands, but not blue ones, which are the ones I would need to accompany Ashiok in the deck which I will now not build at all because I’ll show you overpriced planeswalker.

^ will steal lots of ‘Goyfs. But not from me ’cause that card is bad.


The one-sentence “Seriously.” For when you really mean business.

Pictured: Exhibit one.

Ashen Rider. Legacy staple! In sideboards that hate “losing” on “turn one,” except against Storm decks. Those are fun to lose to. People say Dredge is anti-Magic or just plain mean, man, but I’m not sure how Belcher and Storm are any less pustules that fester on the innocent souls of small children with big, sad eyes, and warm, loving hearts.

Decks that win on turn one are for people who are emotionally stunted and self-delusional and in desperate need of validation, interior and exterior. Ha ha, just playin’!

Or not.

Interestingly enough, to me, because I find interesting things interesting, my first match in Baltimore was against Dredge. I considered informing my opponent that I invented that deck, but a) he wouldn’t have believed me, and b) I wouldn’t have believed me either.

So I waited until his ‘yard was big and dropped MAIN DECK Bojuka Bog. He folded, since even unfair decks lose to my awesome metagame skills.

Yeah, yeah, you did one good thing, like eight years ago, get over it already!

Steam Augury. Got me a set quick fast in a hurry because I’m going to play Standard. Every five months when an event comes within 150 miles. Good card, bad colors, but use it ’cause EOTSAYL could become iconic, if entirely incorrect.

Q. Why not just play Fact or Fiction?

A. Why doesn’t anyone play Fact or Fiction in Legacy?

Q. That wasn’t an answer.

A. Hexproof is overrated.

Q. How is that relevant… but now that you mention it, why?

A. Because Fleecemane Lion.

Q. Edict?

A. Counter.

Q. Stifle.

A. Erase.


A. k

I brewed a Mono-Black deck for months called “12 Edict.” It contained 12 Edicts and Liliana of the Veil. It killed every creature deck in the world (30-4 against RUG Delver lol) and sided into the combo-killer from hell. So why haven’t you revealed this utter brokenness? Because Batterskull.

Fleecemane Lion + Batterskull. Only costs 7,000 mana.

Spellheart Chimera. Got me a set because why not? This guy works very well with Steam Augury and Young Pyromancer and 30 instants. But the deck sucks ass. Really, it’s a horrible Standard deck, and I can’t even begin to tell you how atrocious it is in Legacy.

This is where I would have begun to tell you just how atrocious.

But I’m an adult now.

I have grown.




I have finally matured.

Pictured: Maturity.


Nothing to see here, though I took a gander at Witches’ Eye. See what I did there?

Pictured: Trey Van Cleave.

Akroan Horse. There are guys whose, probably, entire job is to add flavor and build the plane/world and get donuts when they’re not flavorin’ worlds. In the past 400 sets, I can safely say their work has had little to no impact on me. (no offense, none taken, though cosplay grrlz wow and neat and no one ever fantasizes about them but if that was your girlfriend it’d probably be like:

C’mon, put on your Elspeth costume tonight.

Do you know how much work that takes?

You won’t have to wear it long.

I AM AN ARTIST! (and only for strangers so they can take pictures of me and put them on Facebook!)

Suddenly, I want to fondle the balls shake the hand of the person responsible for the conception, then soul kiss everyone else who made sure it saw print. Talkin’ ’bout the Horse, not cosplay. But okay, that too. Omg shut up Akroan Horse cosplay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Most flavorful card of all time.

Ain’t even close.

Good in Limited.

But Limited is stupid.

Still, fondle you!

Public Service Announcement:

If you’re using a card that creates tokens, BUY THE EFFING TOKEN CARDS!

If you use dice punch you.

If you use Pro Player cards punch you.

If you use little slips of paper punch you.

Wizards created the token cards for a specific purpose, this exact purpose.

If you use cards that require counters and neglect to bring your own dice, punch.

If you put multiple colors of mana in your pool and/or start a storm count and make no provisions for indicating either, punch.

tl;dr COME PREPARED! (You bastards.)

(Punch you anyway because you shouldn’t need to be told.)

(Now, if you would be so kind, please remove yourself from my lawn.)


I had to get me some Orzhov Temple because I thought I could squeeze a few into my Legacy deck, what with Enlightened Tutor, Scroll Rack, Land Tax, and assorted shuffle-every-turn-why-not-scry-too thingamajigs. First thing: all of the scry lands are awesome, except the non-black ones. Second thing: not in Legacy. But damnit if I won’t try to make these sumbitches work.

Tip: use eight of these in your Standard deck. You’ll thank me. I mean, sometimes you’ll tempo yourself to death, but hey, that’s some serious card selection if you don’t just, well, die.

Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. If Cabal Coffers and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth and Gaea’s Cradle had a kid, how the hell would that even work because physics? This is the real deal, at least real enough for those of you who like to play permanents. I understand that Wasteland and Rishadan Port are cards, but neither can generate mana in extremis like Nykthos, though they kill it awful funny and you look real stupid with a handful of six-casting-cost stuff when you die.

Still, if you’re not playing 4x Nyx, you’re doing it wrong, no matter the format.

Much like one-mana cantrips contribute to threshold just by being themselves, Nyx can get your mana on all gross-like simply by playing Magic. If you never did the math, imagine the following:

Turn one: Mox Diamond, Withered Wretch or Vampire Hexmage or other BB

Turn two: Garza’s Assassin or Geralf’s Messenger or other BBB (that’s so necro!)

Turn three: Phyrexian Obliterator and I’ll end this because you’re already going LOL!

As a less-bad alternative, use green, play Garruk Wildspeaker and Primeval Titan LOL! or blue and Wizards LOL HOW DOES HE DO IT! or White weenies ROFL SOMEBODY STOP HIM! or Red weenies just not Ball Lightning BECAUSE HA HA IT’S NOT REALLY A PERMANENT BUT KINDA!

All the above scenarios involved playing less sexy cards because they are hopelessly devoted to you. But there might be situations where you can use cards that maximize devotion but don’t suck so much in Legacy. Can’t think of any, ever (actually I can), but it’s possible. There I go again, using that word…

I say be like JFR and buy a playset for $20 before they get all stupid, ’cause they will. ‘Specially now since ‘tings occurred at the Pro Tour and whatnot. w/e do like, good with Nyx in Legacy, then we’ll talk.

EDIT: Suddenly $41 for a playset. So it goes.

The beats, as they say, are as follows:

Theros is awesome.

Just not so much in Legacy.


But it’s still awesome.



Is it wrong to doodle “JFR + Theros” in my Trapper Keeper?

See ya’ll at Grand Prix-D.C./Chantilly with my W/B Tokens in Legacy featuring 100% less Sorin. After I scrub out of the GP, I’ll see you in the side events with my Mono-Black-‘Cept-For-Two-White-Cards in Standard featuring 100% more Nightveil Specter because I really thought that guy was iffy, iffy, iffy. The last two weeks have brought me to my senses because I am, once again, a Magic noob.

But not really.

John Friggin’ Rizzo